I barely glanced at this in posting it to Headlines because I thought I already knew what it would say. Holder’s whining last week about how high the standard is to convict someone of a federal civil rights violation suggested that the tone of the DOJ’s Ferguson report would be more “he’s probably guilty but we just can’t prove it” than “he’s innocent and was railroaded by the media.”
My mistake. The DOJ — Eric Holder’s DOJ — is clear as can be that it thinks Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown. Rarely do I send you off somewhere to read something at length but trust me on this: Go here, scroll down to the bottom of numbered page 80, and keep reading through page 85. I assumed, I guess, that the report would focus more on attempts to sniff out racism in Wilson’s character (e.g., “Wilson’s friend Joe Schmo said he’d never observed any racist behavior by Wilson towards African-Americans”) as circumstantial evidence that he’d shot Brown out of animus than a careful analysis of the shooting itself replete with commentary on the credibility of various witnesses. What we got instead was a considered argument that not only is Wilson not guilty of a federal civil rights charge, he’s not guilty of a criminal offense of any sort. Had Wilson gone to trial, he could have submitted this as his motion to dismiss and the court might well have torpedoed the indictment before opening arguments. I’m bowled over. It reads like it was written by his own defense attorney.
I’ll give you a taste here. Page 82:
“[S]everal of these witnesses said they would have felt threatened by Brown and would have responded in the same way Wilson did.” Meanwhile, Wilson will live the rest of his life in mortal fear of being killed in revenge thanks to our “white cop murders surrendering black teen in cold blood” media. Page 84:
Lots more at the link about how the most damning witnesses against Wilson, the ones who claimed Brown did nothing more than try to surrender, were easily exposed as liars once their stories were compared to the physical evidence and testimony from others. I’m imagining Eric Holder, who went to Ferguson promising to bring the “full resources” of the DOJ to bear on this investigation, rubbing his temples as he read through to the end of what his deputies had concluded. But then, as Ace says, that’s why Holder hedged from the outset by promising to investigate the Ferguson police generally for wider racial bias. He was smart enough to know that a civil-rights investigation of Wilson, which was always a longshot, could blow up on him completely by generating the sort of total acquittal that we’re seeing in today’s report. He needed a political consolation prize. No wonder he released that report yesterday, before this one. Imagine if the “Wilson was innocent” results had dropped today as the sum total of the DOJ’s work so far.
Exit question: Would Eric Holder, after reading this report, have brought charges against Wilson if he had been the St. Louis D.A.? Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis prosecuting attorney, ate mountains of crap from the left when he couldn’t obtain an indictment. Does Holder think he could have, or should have?